This is the BEST cupcake recipe for caramel lovers! Caramel cupcakes are stuffed with homemade caramel icing and topped with it too! After trying this dessert, my friend told me that is ruined for all future cupcakes – nothing will ever be as perfect as this cupcake recipe!
What makes or breaks this best cupcake recipe is not the cupcake itself, but the quality of the caramel.
Like a slow southern drawl, this southern frosting takes time to make. Expect to spend close to an hour making the caramel icing recipe.
The caramel icing is crunchy on the surface and smooth and soft on the inside. It’s perfect as a thick coating on top of the caramel cupcakes. For an extra decadent dessert, I make them stuffed cupcakes by also filling them with caramel icing!
This caramel icing may be the best you’ve ever tried, so be thankful that it takes so long to make. If it didn’t, you’d be eating it way too often.
Do I Have to Make Cupcakes From Scratch?
I dare say that even a yellow cake from a boxed mix, if topped with the proper caramel icing, could become a notable dessert. But, if you are going to spend the time to make the caramel recipe, you may as well take the time to make caramel cupcakes from scratch.
The cupcake recipe that I use is a yellow cake made with sweetened condensed milk.
The yellow cupcakes are quite sweet; a little crunchy on the outside (the cake itself almost tastes caramelized), and moist to the point of having almost no crumb at all.
Bonus!! Caramel cupcakes come together in under ten minutes and are made in a single bowl!
How to Make Moist Caramel Cupcakes
The yellow cupcake recipe is one of the easiest that I make.
- Start by creaming butter and sugar in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer. Creaming means to mix thoroughly until they are fully combined and light and fluffy. It takes about three minutes on high speed.
- Next, beat in the eggs.
- Then, in 3 additions, alternately mix in flour and sweetened condensed milk.
- Mix in a little vanilla extract, and the batter is done!
Remember when I said there wasn’t much crumb to these caramel cupcakes? There is no baking powder or baking soda in the recipe so it doesn’t have much lift and lightness. The consistency is very similar to a pudding cake.
Fill the cupcake liners about three quarters full and bake at 350 F for thirty minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry.
(Sometimes I say to test cupcake doneness by seeing if the cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched. These cupcakes don’t have a bounce to them so that test won’t work. Rely on the toothpick test.)
The Caramel Icing
To make the caramel icing recipe, you will need a saucepan and a skillet.
Melt the sugar with evaporated milk and butter in the saucepan while you caramelize white sugar in the skillet. Then, take the caramelized sugar and mix it into the liquid mixture and stir for about thirty minutes.
The key to making perfect caramel is to cook it low and slow. If you try to speed up the process by raising the heat, you will very likely burn your caramel and have to start over.
Read my post on caramel icing for all the tips and tricks and step-by-step photos.
Icing for the Best Cupcake Recipe
You have two options for applying the icing onto the caramel cupcakes.
One option is to dip the cupcake into the hot caramel. This produces a smoother and better result than the other option. Keep in mind, however, that you will not be able to use this option if you choose to make caramel stuffed cupcakes.
The second option is to spread the icing. If you are going to fill the cupcakes with caramel, this is your only option.
How to Make Stuffed Caramel Cupcakes
To fill the cupcakes,
- Core a hole in the middle of each cupcake, going almost down to the bottom.
- Fill that hole with caramel.
- Spread the caramel frosting over the top of each cupcake. As a result, you will have caramel inside and out!
How Should I Store Caramel Cupcakes?
Store these cupcakes covered at room temperature for three to four days. I don’t recommend refrigerating them, as doing so will affect the consistency of the caramel.
If You Like Caramel, You May Also Like…
- Salted caramel gooey butter bars
- Orange creamsicle cupcakes with orange salted caramel frosting
- Old fashioned caramel cake from Grandbaby Cakes.
The BEST Cupcake Recipe for Caramel Cupcakes
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- caramel icing See my post on caramel icing for the recipe - prepare the caramel icing while the cupcakes are cooling so the icing is warm and easy to work with.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a medium-sized bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about three minutes on high speed with an electric mixer.)
- Beat in eggs.
- Alternately add flour and sweetened condensed milk into the mixture in three additions each.
- Mix in vanilla.
- Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
- Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry.
- If you aren't filling the cupcakes, dip cooled cupcakes into warm caramel to cover with icing. To make filled cupcakes: When cupcakes are cool, use a paring knife to cut a chunk out of the center of the cupcake. Fill the entire hole with caramel. Immediately eat the part of the cupcake that you removed (it will be our little secret). Use an offset spatula to spread icing right over the filled hole.
- Serve while the caramel is still hot and gooey or wait two to three hours until the caramel gets a nice crunchy top.